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Audiophile: Loving Smaller Audio Files

Audio files, whether wav, mp3, or otherwise, of any significant length, are inconveniently large. Apparently, audio files can be up to 10MB per minute. That’s huge. Like us, you may have struggled with files that are too large to email, or too large to post on a group site. Sometimes, you might be content to circumvent the issue by using a dropsite, or a file-sending website, like sendthisfile and yousendit. But, that is often the less convenient option. And apart from trying to share them, large files are often undesirable for wasting storage space.

I was going to try to provide some type of summary about audio compression. I was going to do that right here. Buuuut, I think your understanding of the information provided by the ever-informative and hopefully accurate Wikipedia, is probably as good as mine.

Awhile back, I was excited to have discovered a very simple compression process. However, in my experience, that process does not compress the files by any substantial degree. Nonetheless, every file is different. So, there may be better luck to be had with this method, in which case it would be worth sharing it, here:

– From Windows Explorer, right-click on the audio file you intend to compress.
– Select “Properties”.
– Click the “Advanced” button.
– In the new window, select the checkbox to “Compress Contents to Save Disk Space”.
– Click “OK”.
– In the original window, click “Apply”, and then “OK”.

Done. But, as an example, I performed this routine on a 334 MB file, and this reduced its size to 311 MB. Such reductions would certainly add up, from a storage space standpoint; however, that 23 MB, or 7%, difference doesn’t help much if you’re trying to share the file.

Fortunately, there are programs that reduce audio file sizes by a much greater percentage. Mp3 Quality Modifier decreases the bitrate of the audio file, making it smaller. It offers four levels of quality. I used it to reduce an audio file by 63%, and found the quality level to be just fine. Once installed, the program is easy to operate, and, in my experience, did not take long to process. Once the program is open, you just add your file(s), configure the compression by selecting the quality level under “Presets”, click “Process”, and choose where you want to save your new, much smaller, audio file. And, yes, this program is free.

If your only purpose in compressing audio files is to save a little disk space, and you have a lot of audio files, the compression process in Windows may very well suffice. But if you intend to share audio files easily, without use of file-sending sites or dropsites, there appears to be no way around downloading a program that will seriously reduce the size of your audio files.